A very warm welcome back to my current series, ladies and gentlemen. In this leg of the journey, I'll be flying Turkish Airlines' new Airbus A321neo on a flight from Istanbul to Vienna. As I mentioned in the previous installment of the series, I had really wanted to fly Turkish Airlines since my only previous trip with them back in 2013. For this journey, a good opportunity arose, and to celebrate me getting my first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, my dad and I decided to fly home to Austria with a stop in Istanbul. In addition, this would be my very first flight on an A321neo, so I was also very much looking forward to that!
I originally booked a basic VIE-SOF-VIE roundtrip for 16,000 United Miles. Upon booking, my routing looked like this:
OS799 | Vienna - Sofia | Embraer 195
OS798 | Sofia - Vienna | Airbus A319
However, for no extra cost, I was able to change my journey to have the following routing:
The final leg of the flight was booked separately as a revenue fare.
At around 6 AM, my dad and I left the Yotel and headed back to the Miles&Smiles Lounge in hopes of having breakfast, as I wasn't sure if there would be any food served onboard given the lack of service on the previous flight.
I didn't take any photos of the lounge this time, as it was more crowded than it was the previous night. Check out the bonus section of my previous report to see photos of the lounge itself!
The buffet section consisted of exactly the same selection as the night before…
…except this morning there were also paninis. Both types were with tomato and cheese. I tried one of each, and they were both delicious.
Boarding was scheduled to begin at 06:50, so we left the lounge around 20 minutes before that.
We took our time heading to the gate, as it was nice to take in the sights of a major airport again. My dad had still been travelling quite a bit during the pandemic and had actually connected through IST a month earlier, but for me it was a treat and a delight to experience the feeling of such a massive airport again!
My flight to Vienna was departing from gate B9B, towards the end of the northwestern-most pier at Istanbul Airport.
The 06:50 boarding time was meant to encourage all passengers to get to the gate, so that the gate agents could conduct a check that all passengers were eligible to enter Austria.
Boarding began around 07:15, and to my surprise was a bit of a mess. There was no priority boarding, and all passengers queued up and boarded at once.
At the gate next to us, another Turkish A321neo.
Down the jetbridge. It's a shame that they didn't opt for glass jetbridges at such a new airport 😢
There were no views of our aircraft (apart from the sharklet) from the gate area, so the only photo I have of the aircraft is a fuselage shot. Flying me back to Austria was TC-LSK, a 1.5-year-old Airbus A321neo built and delivered to Turkish Airlines in October 2019. Can we also take a moment to appreciate the beauty of that PW Engine?? 😍
I was handed my hygiene kit in the jetbridge and greeted by a friendly purser before passing through a spiffy-looking Business Class cabin.
The Economy Class cabin also wasn't half bad.
At my seat 19A.
The legroom wasn't quite as good as the 737 I was on the night before, but was still pretty good.
In the seatback pocket were an airsickness bag…
…as well as the safety instruction card.
I liked the fact that the seatback has two smaller pockets as well. I stored my phone in there for the duration of the flight.
The PTV was crisp, clear, and a bit bigger than the one on the 737.
It also used a different software, which was a bit more intuitive and responsive.
The selection included many TV shows, a whole section about Turkish Airlines…
…and 427 movies! Quite possibly the most expansive entertainment system in the skies.
The map section featured a lot of stats to make any AvGeek happy! 😆
From what I saw, the only charger was the USB port on the PTV. It's possible that there was a universal power plug under the seat, but I forgot to look for it.
Nice wing view from my seat.
I'd estimate that the load factor in the back was close to 95%, which was a welcome sight. Once everyone was onboard, the captain welcomed us onboard and announced a flight time of 2 hours to Vienna.
Despite the full flight, my middle seat remained open, and I put my bag under 18B, which gave me a bit more space.
As we began to pushback, the safety video screened.
Of course, the aircraft featured new, pristine PSUs.
The engine startup reminded me a bit of a GE90 or GEnx startup. I'm looking forward to experiencing a widebody (a 787-9 to be precise) startup again in July! 😉
Flaps 2, beginning our taxi to Runway 35L.
One last look at the Istanbul Airport terminal. I'm looking forward to being back in July!
The windsock was blowing quite a bit. If I recall correctly, the winds were at 17 knots that morning.
Passing the gorgeous IST Tower.
Final sights of Turkish soil before heading into the clouds.
Left turn over the Black Sea.
Cabin after departure.
As we neared our cruising altitude over eastern Bulgaria, the cabin crew sprung into action.
I'm sure you can imagine I joy I felt when handed this breakfast tray (the main was of course covered in foil, I was just too anxious to see the meal and forgot to take a picture 🙈)
The meal consisted of an appetizer of Feta and Kaşar Cheeses, with olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes…
…a delicious main course consisting of scrambled eggs with Feta, a grilled tomato, and a Kaşar and Ham toast…
…and a succulent dessert. I have no idea what it was, so if anyone knows please enlighten me!
The meal was served with real cutlery.
All I can say is this: the Turkish Airlines that we know and love is back!
By the time I finished my meal and my tray was cleared, we had already passed Belgrade and were getting close to Vienna.
Clear blue skies. A view that I'll never take for granted ever again 🤩
For the last 50 minutes of the flight, I watched short videos about Turkish Airlines destinations in Turkey. I hope to visit all those places someday!
Commencing our descent south of Budapest.
Hungarian landscape below.
Approaching the airport.
Over the runway.
Touchdown on Runway 34 at 8:48 AM, 22 minutes early, after a flight time of 1h50m.
Vacating the runway.
Taxiing into the apron…
…and pulling into our gate.
One last look at my seat.
Deplaning through Economy…
Nothing special to say about our routing, we cruised at 36,000 feet and flew a straightforward routing.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this flight as much I enjoyed the flight itself. I adore Turkish Airlines, and look forward to flying them again soon. As you may have noticed from my not-so-subtle clues, my very first longhaul flight in over a year and a half will be on a Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 at the end of July. As for the class of service and the destination, you'll have to be patient, as I will announce that when the report comes out 😎 As for now, I do hope to see you at the next report, which is a special one. It will cover my last ever flight on an Austrian Q400, taken just 5 days before the last OS Q400 flight to Innsbruck, which also means it will possibly be the last review of that airline-aircraft combination on Flight-Report. Luckily the weather was great, so I was treated to beautiful views. Stay tuned!
Turkish Airlines is back, which is great news for passengers. In addition to the delicious food and the good service onboard, their hub in Istanbul is also stunning.
+ Great new cabin in pristine condition
+ Stellar entertainment options
+ Friendly cabin crew
+ Delicious meal
+ Fantastic Istanbul Airport experience
I honestly don't have anything negative to say about this flight. Turkish Airlines is hands down the best airline in Europe, and I look forward to flying them longhaul again soon!